Holland Halts Cardinals' Attack: Series tied 2-2
The Rangers needed to bounce back from Saturday's loss and they could not have asked for a better performance to lift their spirits and tie the series up at 2-2. Derek Holland pitched an absolute gem and defeated the Cardinals 4-0 Sunday evening.
The young lefty, who had a career 5.27 ERA in the postseason, pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out seven, walking two and only giving up two hits. It was like he was imitating Cliff Lee on the mound.
Holland established his off speed pitches early in the game. This helped him keep hitters off balance. He also threw strikes early in the count allowing him to stay ahead. Hitters are only batting .219 when Holland is ahead in the count.
Prior to the game, Rangers' manager, Ron Washington, reinforced Holland's confidence and told Holland to pound the inside of the strikezone like he was acostumed to doing. They did a handshake and then Washington playfully slapped Holland on his face.
To further help Holland establish confidence early in the game the Rangers scored first. Elvis Andrus got on base and the injured Josh Hamilton drove him in with a double down the right field line. Holland had a 1-0 lead to protect in the top of the second inning.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth when two of Edwin Jackson's seven walks came back to haunt him. He lost Nelson Cruz and David Murphy with Mike Napoli stepping to the plate.
Tony La Russa brought in Mitchell Boggs and his first delivery was sent over the left field fence. This gave the Rangers a commanding 4-0 run lead. Jackson pitched 5 1/3, gave up three earned runs and struck out three.
Holland was allowed to complete the game but he walked Rafael Furcal. Holland asked Washington to leave him out there, but Washington did not want to risk it.
Neftali Feliz closed out the game. He got Albert Pujols to fly out to center. Then finished the game by striking out Matt Holliday on a 99 mph fastball.
The struggling C.J. Wilson will face off against Chris Carpenter in Monday's Game 5. The winner of this match up will take a 3-2 lead to St. Louis and will be one win away from winning the 2011 World Series.